Breaking (Almost) All of the Rules

When I first started seeing Cake Red Velvet dresses made up, one of the first versions I saw was Susan’s striped version. I knew right then I wanted a striped version too, but I was also still in that mood where I wanted to acquire impossibly bright fabrics.

I absolutely love what I ended up with, not the least because I think it successfully breaks multiple fashion “rules.” I made this one similar to the first, but added a 1″ deep bust adjustment to the bodice which really helped the fit, and lengthened out the skirt about 11 inches.

Rule 1) Plus-size girls should avoid stripes. Really? An entire type of print/weave off-limits just like that? I don’t think so. Not for me.

Red Velvet Stripe 4

Rule 2) Plus-size girls should avoid maxi-length dresses. I’m somewhere just over 5′ 3″. I’m never going to be taller, so why should I try to pretend that a dress-length is somehow going to convince the 5′ 9″ person standing next to me that I am the same height as them?

Red Velvet Stripe 1

Rule 3 and 4) maxi dresses in fun colors are only for summer. It’s November and the temperatures in the last week have been running anywhere from 29 – 48F. I don’t know why I wouldn’t want a long dress/skirt when it’s cold out. I don’t know why I would want to wear drab colors when I can already see them all around me on the bare trees and in the grey clouds. Just look at the cheerful-colored stripe matching down the side seams!

Red Velvet Stripe 2

Rule 5) A Girl with a thick waist should avoid wearing contrast waistbands, wide belts, or anything else that would separate the waistline out from the rest of the outfit. Usually when I’m planning a project, I can visualize it in my head before and as I make it up. With this uneven stripe, I couldn’t get a mental picture, but still love how it worked out. The only thing that really had me worried about the waistband was that the fabric is ITY which is quite stretchy and turning the stripe vertical made the greater stretch run up/down which could have made it look too stretched out. I debated over fusing some soft knit interfacing to it, but in the end  went without and it did work. I happened to have this lavender zipper in my stash for an invisible pocket.

Pocket Open


Rule 6) Leggings are like tights, not like pants. Actually I truly believe this rule. It needs to stay unbroken. I have new purple Espresso Leggings (Laguna cotton, again) to wear with my striped dress.



What’s your favorite fashion “rule” to break?






11 responses to “Breaking (Almost) All of the Rules”

  1. Susan Avatar

    Cari, this is the best post! To accompany an absolutely fabulous dress! That stripes rule makes my brain boil — I don’t *believe* it’s unflattering actually, and even if it were, there’s no way I’m eliminating that hugely FUN genre of fabrics from my life. So I guess that’s my favorite rule to break too. 🙂

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said some version of that exact thing… “Hmm, does this look too fitted on me? What, like another inch of ease is going to make me look like a size 2??” LOL!

    I love your dress!

  2. sewexhausted Avatar

    I did not know about rule #2 and I ALWAYS make maxi dresses. (guess I better go read the rule book!) Great dress!

  3. Karen Ailsworth Kinzer Avatar
    Karen Ailsworth Kinzer

    Love the stripes and bright colors! Actually, I love the whole dress! You look great in it.

  4. ShanniLoves Avatar

    You go girl! I don’t like to follow the fashion rules either! Love the dress!

  5. StephC Avatar

    Cari, your dress and this post are amazing and everything I hoped Cake would give to sewists. Beautifully done.

  6. scriviasole Avatar

    I agree with you about everything, absolutely! I personally don’t like long dresses while I love long skirts and wear them a lot. I also wear stripes and colors and everything I LIKE and makes me fell great. If I feel goo than I AM good!

  7. lettersfromwetville Avatar

    gorgeous! I love the dress and the post.

  8. theseedsof3 Avatar

    I break all these rules as well, as a plus sized gal who is only 5’1″. Life’s too short to play by anyone else’s rules. Wear and SEW what makes you happy. And those stripes make me very happy.

  9. Ginger Avatar

    Your dress looks great! I love the vertical midrif. To heck with the rules, I think it accents your waist nicely and shows off your curves.

  10. Chuleenan - C Sews Avatar

    This looks really great – love your use of stripes. What rules? I want to make a RV with stripes, too. I like your vertical stripes on the midriff. Very nice!

  11. EmSewCrazy` Avatar

    Um love your commentary on Rule 2. I think this dress makes you look tall. I would have never guessed that you are only 5′ 3″ I guess that’s because I’m not standing next to you. 🙂 I think this is a super fun dress!

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